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Spring 2011: CHEM 279 Special Topics: Inorganic Materials for Energy Conversion

Course units:

1.0 to 4.0.

Meeting times and rooms

Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:00 pm to 4:50 pm, PSB-N 1631.

Course description

We will spend the quarter examining how inorganic materials chemistry impacts current and new technologies for sustainable energy, and for increased energy efficiency. The format of the class will involve presentations from Ram, readings of articles, and presentations by students. Two books listed below will play a key role in guiding discussions:


Sustainable Energy — Without the Hot Air. This book, by Cambridge physicist David MacKay FRS, currently Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, helps understand the issues and helps deflate a number of non-numerate assumptions that proliferate in this area. This book and the associated material can be downloaded for free.

Energy for a Sustainable World: From the Oil Age to a Sun-Powered Future. This recent book by two Italian chemists, Nicola Armaroli and Vincenzo Balzani, (A&B) examines the options we have, and provide a lot of useful statistics. In many ways, a complement to MacKay with more details on processes.